In big dog years, nine is old. And in giant dog years, Bernese Mountain Dog years, five is old. This has brought out tears in the children. And lost sleep. And conversations on the cycle of life, and enjoying your time on earth, and pets in the eternities. And I've wondered for about the millionth time why we have such intense children.
Lyle asked one of the kids yesterday, after she'd tearfully plopped herself on his lap, "Well, would you rather not have dogs because they don't live long enough, or have dogs and love them while they're with you?" She's still thinking.
Do you know my kids can't listen to the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" without choking up? The day our cat died, Madeline asked me to play it on the piano. The children sobbed and Lyle yelled from the kitchen, "ENOUGH! It's a CAT!" So now forever after, "Over the Rainbow" is a song of pet death. Intense children.
We had a wonderful little dachshund who died before we got Olaf. We chose a giant breed because Lyle wanted to be sure he'd easily see the dog in the rear-view mirror. He wanted a giant breed because if the truck happened to bump it, the truck would be more damaged than the dog. Because when little short-legged Sally died, the kids were beside themselves. The funeral was very moving. The day after, Madeline left class and spent quality time with the assistant principal where she drew pictures and wrote poetry. Adam was called from his class and they shared a hug. Seriously intense children.
So I look at our aging dogs, the scraving eaters--one with a graying muzzle and the other with arthritic hips, and I pray for longevity. Please don't be going over the rainbow anytime soon.